Matt Holm Author Visit

Last week, we were pleased to host author and illustrator Matt Holm for two days of workshops with elementary and secondary students and teachers. Mr. Holm shared his journey to becoming an author and illustrator, and how he creates the artwork for books like the popular Squish and Babymouse series. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed his workshops, and many students were inspired by his visit and wanted to work on their own illustrations. A big thank you to Matt Holm and the team at Obido books who helped make it happen!

Welcome Back!

A warm welcome back from your IST library team! We have an exciting year of reading and library programs planned. Here are some upcoming events for your calendar:

  • Author/Illustrator visit: Matt Holm (Aug 31 & Sep 1). Holm is the illustrator for the popular Squish and BabyMouse books. Parents are welcome to attend his workshops! A final schedule will be coming soon.
  • Scholastic Book Orders (order forms will go home this Friday. Please return the forms by August 25th).
  • International Schools Library Week (Oct 16-20)
  • BPIEC Book Fair (Oct 17-18)
  • Book Character Dress Up Day (Oct 20). Start planning your costumes!

Volunteers Welcome

We are very lucky to have several volunteers who assist us with everything from ordering to shelving, but we are always happy to have more community members coming in to assist. If you are interested in becoming a library volunteer, please contact the IST librarians at or

Birthday Book Club

We love to help students celebrate their birthdays! With the birthday book club, you help support the library’s book collection and give your child a special birthday memory. How does it work? The librarians select a new book for the library, based on your child’s interests. A nameplate will be put into the new book, and your child will be the first to check the new book out. The cost is 150 RMB. Please contact the librarians if you would like to celebrate your child’s next birthday with us!

Interview with Stephan Pastis, Panda Book Award Winner

4 - Timmy Failure - Top 8 August to November 2013

Stephan Pastis is the author of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, the first book in the series about boy detective Timmy Failure. This book won the Panda Book Awards for Middle Readers this year. Our library book distributor, Follett, interviewed Mr. Pastis at his home and created a video from that interview.

Students in grades 3 to 5 will be watching the interview in their library sessions and will be invited to checkout other detective stories from the library collection.

If the video below doesn’t load, click here to go to a separate window.

The 2 Steves to Visit IST 17 to 19 March

2 Steves Visit IST Announcement

The 2 Steves are a pair of writers and performers from the UK who is coming to visit our school from 17 to 19 March. Their names are Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore, and they have written many titles for young readers. We are getting excited about their arrival because of the great opportunity this will afford our students to interact with working authors and enjoy dynamic live performances. Learn more about the 2 Steves from their website, see a list of their books and download a free book on their website:

There will be four larger performances for different groupings of students:

  • Nursery and preK on 18 March, at 10:45 in the lab 2 of the library
  • Kindergarten and grade 1 on 17 March, at 1:10 in the g2-5 playroom
  • Grades 2 to 5 on 17 March, at 8:25 am in the g2-5 playroom
  • Grades 6 to 8 on 18 March, at 8:25 am in the theater

Parents are welcome to any of these presentations, but note that seating will be limited for the nursery and preK presentation. Books will be on sale on Tuesday and Wednesday in the library.

Students from grade 2 to 8 will also be receiving writing master classes with the 2 authors during the three days of the visit. During this time, they will receive writing instructions and inspiration. For a schedule of these workshops, see the IST Blaze this week.

We hope you will show our two visitors that IST is indeed a friendly place, and that our students will make the most of this exciting opportunity.

All graphic novels can be found in the 741.5 section.

Skyped with Squish

We had the great pleasure this morning of Skyping with authors Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, who won the Panda Book Awards for Middle Readers this year with their graphic novel Squish.

All graphic novels can be found in the 741.5 section.

Squish is the story of an amoeba who, inspired by his favorite comic strip super hero, always tries to do what’s right. In this first installment of the series, Squish has to face up to the school bully and save his friend Peggy from being eaten. Our students love Squish and are eagerly awaiting books 2 and 3, which will arrive in time for the new school year.

Jennifer and Matthew Holm also write Babymouse, a very successful graphic novel series about a mouse girl with a lot of different interests.

All graphic novels can be found in the 741.5 section.

Our grade 3 students were able to watch the interview live and ask questions. When asked how they felt about winning the Panda Books Award, they replied that they were thrilled to be read by children on the other side of the planet from them.

The interview was recorded by the organizers and will be made available next week for other classes to watch.

We shared this Skype interview with International School of Beijing and Tianjin International School, who also participate in the Panda Book Awards, a reading initiative for international schools in China.


New York Times Literary Caravan in Tianjin

Two outstanding novelists will be speaking at Tianjin University as part of the New York Times Literary Caravan, an initiative promoted by the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival.

“The New York Times BLF Literary Caravan 2013 is a series of events with acclaimed international and Chinese writers and thinkers in seven cities throughout China. The New York Times BLF Literary Caravan 2013 will travel for two weeks in March to Beijing, Tianjin, Suzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing and Ningbo to share with audiences and readers the diverse writing and ideas of writers from twelve countries.” (Excerpt from the Bookworm’s Literary Festival website.)

The two authors who will be visiting Tianjin are Esi Edugyan from Canada and Eshkol Nevo from Israel. The presentations will be held at Tianijn University on 20 March, at 4 and 5 pm respectively. Short biographies of the authors can be found here in Chinese. Scroll down to the Tianjin talks. Use Google Translate for a machine translation if you cannot read Chinese characters.

Learn German Business Strategies in Chinese

A big thank you to author Sonja Franzl-Zinkle for donating her book, Modern German Business Etiquette Guide, which she co-wrote with Oliver Noelle and Alexa Strohschein. Ms. Zinkle was an IST parent only a couple of years ago. We are delighted that she remembered us and has given us a copy of her book to include in our library collection.

Best wishes, Sonja. We hope you continue writing. Say hi to your family!

Mo Yan, the 2012 Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature

Mo Yan, born on 17 February 1955, is a Chinese novelist and short story writer. Before 2012, he was mostly know for the two of his novels that formed the basis of the film Red Sorghum, directed by award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Mo is currently the only Chinese author who has won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“”Mo Yan” — meaning “don’t speak” in Chinese — is his pen name. In an interview with Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, he explains that name comes from a warning from his father and mother not to speak his mind while outside, because of China’s revolutionary political situation from the 1950s, when he grew up. The pen name also relates to the subject matter of Mo Yan’s writings, which reinterpret Chinese political and sexual history.”

“Mo Yan’s works are epic historical novels characterised by hallucinatory realism and containing elements of black humor. A major theme in Mo Yan’s works is the constancy of human greed and corruption, despite the influence of ideology. Using dazzling, complex, and often graphically violent images, he sets many of his stories near his hometown, Northeast Gaomi Township in Shandong province. ”

The Garlic Ballads
Shifu: You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh
홍까오량 가족

The above titles are available at the IST library.

“Mo Yan.” Mo Yan. N.p., 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <>.

Author Spotlight: Eric Carle

One of my earliest school memories is sitting in Mrs. Gonzalez’s first grade classroom listening to her read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. My favorite part was hearing the words, “Teacher, teacher, what do you see? I see children looking at me!” The illustrations were bold and vibrant and appealed to our sense of color. We requested the book over and over again. Thirty-five years later, I still get a thrill from those words and I find myself reading it aloud over and over again to captivated audiences of children.

Nursery and grade 4 have both shown interest in Eric Carle’s illustrations. Be sure to step by the nursery classroom to see their “I Love Eric Carle” bulletin board. There are many gorgeous collage paintings of animals by the nursery students. Of special note is Shizuka’s Carle-inspired artwork. The teachers have posted photos of Shizuka creating her collage. It is marvelous to see Shizuka so engaged in the process. It is a wonderful bulletin board, as bold and vibrant as the nursery students who created it!

Grade 4 today did a mini-author study on Eric Carle, as a tie-in to their How we express ourselves unit, Visual Arts. As they looked at different Eric Carle books, the students commented on the use of color, symmetry and the effectiveness of the collages. I hope that although their unit on the visual arts is coming to an end, they will find inspiration in Eric Carle to continue exploring their options as artists.

Click here for a list of Eric Carle books in our library collection. We have many of his 70+ books, including several translated into languages other than English. Click here for Eric Carle’s official website. I thought the Photo and Video Gallery was particularly interesting. There are videos that show his art processes and several photo albums.

The fourth graders also saw a short video presentation by Eric Carle, prepared on the 40th anniversary of his book, The Hungry Caterpillar. (It was funny to hear almost every single fourth grader exclaim in delight at seeing The Hungry Caterpillar. They all knew it from preschool, but they listened happily to it again today.) In this video presentation, Eric Carle explains how the book came to be and how the book’s editor helped to shape it. He also speaks about color and how much he loves it.

Eric Carle visited Japan in the 1980s and was inspired by the picture book art museums of that country. He founded the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in 1991. Click here for a link to the museum. If you are ever near Amherst, Massachusetts, do try to visit. It looks like a marvelous place to explore. In the meantime, come to the library and check out an Eric Carle book or two.